Striving According to the Spirit

By Scott Bailey

How many times in our lives as believers have we missed an opportunity to share the Gospel with an unbeliever or passed by as a fellow believer was participating in a sinful behavior? For the believer, this is something that can make us, and rightly so, very uncomfortable. We have a job to do and our time on this earth is short. So how do we make the most of our time?

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians in 1:28-29, Scripture gives us the answer: “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.”

When we read that passage, a few phrases should really stand out: “proclaim Him,” “every man,” “strive,” and “His power.” These phrases put our responsibility as believers into perspective. I need to share the Gospel and “proclaim Him” to “every man” I run into!

This can be a daunting task and one that when we first think about it from a human perspective, seems impossible. But God has the answer for that also, and that is “hard work.” This takes all my energy, not the work of the lazy person, this is laborious and agonizing!

In verse 29, Paul makes it clear that he could not accomplish this task in his own power. Notice what he says: “For this purpose,” which is proclaiming the Gospel, “also I labor, striving according to His power.” As we are laboring, the power of God is the thing we need to concentrate on. Hard work and the greatness of His power! These two cannot be separated, because they are both needed.

The Holy Spirit is the one who gives us the power and our hard work is accomplished through the Holy Spirit.

When we proclaim Christ, we need to pray that the Holy Spirit will give us the opportunity and the strength to do it. When we try to do it on our own we will fail.

Sharing the Gospel is not the end of our responsibility, once we have shared the Gospel and the seed has fallen on good soil, our job is just starting. Paul makes it clear that we have a task to accomplish in the lives of those who have accepted the truth: “that we may present every man complete in Christ.” There’s that phrase again, “every man.” We don’t just admonish and teach unbelievers, we also need to admonish and teach believers.

Can you see where the arduous labor fits in? This is a tough thing to do, but it is our responsibility as believers. Paul’s goal is to present each believer before the Lord, “holy and blameless and beyond reproach” (Col. 1:22b) and to accomplish this, God uses each one of us!